Pitcher Sean Doolittle, a member of the 2007 Kane County Cougars, made his Major League debut in last night’s game for the Oakland Athletics. The left-handed reliever pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief against Texas. Doolittle becomes the 118th former Cougar to reach the Major Leagues and the second former Cougar to make his MLB debut this season, joining pitcher Pedro Figueroa.
Doolittle, a 25-year old who was an infielder with Kane County in ‘07, has made a rapid ascent to baseball’s biggest stage as a pitcher after beginning his professional career as an infielder.
In last night’s game, Doolittle threw 21 pitches – all fastballs – and struck out 3 Texas batters. His first strikeout victim was Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, a Cougar from the ’03 team. Texas entered the game with a .280 team batting average, best in the American League.
Two months ago, Doolittle was embarking on a new stage of his professional career after being drafted as a pitcher from the University of Virginia. Doolittle opened the ’12 season at Class-A Advanced Stockton, and made stops at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento before making his debut last night.
Doolittle was promoted to the Cougars from Short-A Vancouver on July 3, 2007 and batted .233 with 4 home runs and 29 RBI that summer at Kane County. Various knee injuries cost him a portion of the 2009 season and the entire ’10 campaign.
The Cougars organization, which began in 1991 and is presently affiliated with the Kansas City Royals, has had at least one former player make a Major League debut in each season, dating back to 1993. The list includes Major League All-Stars, World Series champions and former Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winners.
Notes on Doolittle – Sean Doolittle becomes the 118th former Kane County Cougar to play in the Major Leagues…he is the sixth Cougar from the ’07 team to reach the big leagues, joining Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Carignan, Sam Demel and Henry Rodriguez…Doolittle became the first Oakland pitcher to strike out the first three batters he faced in his career since Blake Stein on May 10, 1998…Doolittle’s younger brother Ryan was a Cougar in 2010…Doolittle’s alma mater, the University of Virginia, is shared by Cougars manager and former big leaguer Brian Buchanan.